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Michelin Stars or AA Rosettes - Which is a better guide to excellent f


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What is the best way to gauge when choosing a restaurant if we want a really wonderful foodie experience?

Michelin or AA rosettes - Which carries more weight among Chefs, which is more prestigious in terms of how their cooking is regarded?

Is One Michelin Star equal to 3 AA rosettes?

Are Two 2 Michelin Stars equal to 4 AA rosettes?

I'm a little confused as to which one to rely more heavily upon.

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What is the best way to gauge when choosing a restaurant if we want a really wonderful foodie experience?

Michelin or AA rosettes - Which carries more weight among Chefs, which is more prestigious in terms of how their cooking is regarded?

Is One Michelin Star equal to 3 AA rosettes?

Are Two 2 Michelin Stars equal to 4 AA rosettes?

I'm a little confused as to which one to rely more heavily upon.

Welcome aboard Loving Annie,

We had the good fortune to dine at a recently promoted 2 to 3 AA rosetted restaurant last week,and very good it was too.

I spoke to the chef, at some length after the meal and he revealed to me that his next goal was a Michelin star.

If you were to ask most chefs the above, Michelin recognition is the pinnacle.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Welcome to the board. I'm sure chefs and restaurant owners welcome any award (and all information is welcome information for the diner). That said, I don't think I remember anyone hailing their Rosettes over their Stars. Nuff said?

However for your really wonderful experience, my advice is do as much research as possible and make sure that you check varied sources. It's worth putting the effort in. There's the awards as you mention, boards such as this, guidebooks such as the Good Food Guide, restaurants' own websites, etc. I guess what I mean is your wonderful experience will be different from mine which will be different from someone's else.

So, for example, there are Michelin starred Indian restaurants in the UK. But if you don't like Indian food then visiting there is not going to be wonderful.

Another example is my current dilemma. I have a "big birthday" this year. My partner has suggested the Fat Duck, not least as its often thought of as "the best". But I'm simply not sure if I fancy the food enough to warrant the time and expense of getting there and eating there. Still some weeks to decide.........

John

John Hartley

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Dear John Harters,

Thank you for responding. Good information for me to know, it helps.

I will find the Michelin starred restaurants and not focus on how many AA rosettes they have.

As for your dilemna, I found the best food in April 2009 was at The Square and Hibiscus.

The fanciest atmosphere was Gordon Ramsay RHR.

I'd avoid Pied A Terre, Waterside Inn and LeManoir aux Quat Saisons - the food just (in my humble opinion) did not warrant the stars they had.

While Marcus Wareing at the Barkeley was sumptuous in the atmosphere, I wasn't as fond of their food as some.

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester has gotten 2 dreadful reviews from food bloggers I respect (4.5 hours for the meal to take place, overcooked steak, ridiculous prices) - and everybody else seems to love it.

Haven't eaten there yet, and am wavering a bit, since 3 stars is a bit of a seductive lure.

There, you still have a dilemna :)

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Another example is my current dilemma. I have a "big birthday" this year. My partner has suggested the Fat Duck, not least as its often thought of as "the best". But I'm simply not sure if I fancy the food enough to warrant the time and expense of getting there and eating there. Still some weeks to decide.........

John, IIRC you enjoy Fraiche? If so I believe the FD will reward the investment. The food is good, but I think the theatre of the meal is better. Our visit for a significant birthday was memorable and it stands apart as a very special meal. I may have had better individual dishes elsewhere, but overall it was a great meal.

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Thanks Phil.

I raised this with the boss over dinner and was told, in no uncertain terms, that we are not pissing about anymore. That I'm only 60 once and we're going to FD (assuming we can get a table), so that I better get used to it. Nuff said,boss,said I.

BTW, off to Fraiche in a couple of weeks.

John

John Hartley

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Nickloman,

Thank you!

I have a much clearer idea now, and if I have the option, will go for a minimum of 1 Michelin Star in the areas we will be visiting.

Annie

Annie, one further point. I suggest you use the stars as guides but read up on the restaurants. The Yorke Arms post is a good example, it is a 1* pub, and there are a few in the UK. And as MalO says:

The restaurant is rather old fashioned but in a good way. The dining room had lots of antique wood and a large real fire. The lounge was comfortable again with a fire blazing. There is even a bar area where you could sit and sink a few pints if you were staying

He enjoyed it but we found it stuffy and a bit snotty; hushed tones in the dining room, forced to order in the lounge and taken to out table for entrees; condescending maitre'd etc. The food was OK but it wasn't a restaurant for us. On the other hand The Harwood Arms in London or The Sportsman in Seasalter also boast stars. But these are casual places with all the focus on the plate, and absolutely no pretensions.

So whilst Michelin is good for food quality you do need to take care with style in the UK. The restaurant scene isn't that broad or mature and many places still have quite conservative service models and/or patrons who aren't that comfortable eating out i.e. the hushed reverence found in many UK dining rooms more akin to a church than a fun night out. It is better in London than the provinces and it is improving. Best advice is to use the stars but also read lots of reviews.

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There are some interesting discrepancies between the two guides.

The AA have Sketch and Tom Aikens on their highest award of five rosettes but Michelin award only one star each. Similarly Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House has four rosettes but no star.

Le Gavroche have 2* and I would say one my one visit well worth them but AA award three rosettes.

I imagine that there are other examples but these spring to mind immediately.

Finally Loving Annie – If you choose Ducasse you can get a 15% total bill discount from toptable / squaremeal.

Martin

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There are some interesting discrepancies between the two guides.

Then throw in the Good Food Guide (my usual bible) which gives an 8 to both La Gavroche and Tom Aikens, 7 to Danesfield and 6 to Sketch.

John Hartley

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Phil D,

Thank you for explaining more about this. It's slightly easier when we will actually be in London itself, because I can consult

http://www.fine-dining-guide.com/1PercentClub/Rankings/Top_London_Restaurants_Ranked_2010_1_to_71.html

and that is an excellent resource because it combines Michelin, GFG and AA for a total score.

It gets a bit harder out in Oxfordshire, or Kent, or Derbyshire, for instance, if we want to visit the famous attractions and stay a few days, while also having one more good meal, let alone a good meal close to say, Hever Castle or Chatsworth or Woburn Abbey.

Ah, to have such problems is to know that life is pretty good regardless:)

Annie

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If you want good food neat Chatsworth, try Fischers for a Michelin starred meal (with rooms), Rowleys in Baslow is excelent too (owned by the Fischers) Riverside House at Ashford in the Water is good too, and has rooms. There are a few more that evade me this early in the morning, but I'll think of them.

I knew I'd think of another, The Peacock at Rowsley, very good, maybe my favourite from this list, and has rooms too.

Edited by Soundman (log)
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The area around Chatsworth is one of my favourite places on earth, I lived there for a few years, and have lived near it most of my life, you'll have a wonderful trip, if you want any more tips, message me.

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It gets a bit harder out in Oxfordshire, or Kent, or Derbyshire, for instance, if we want to visit the famous attractions and stay a few days, while also having one more good meal, let alone a good meal close to say, Hever Castle or Chatsworth or Woburn Abbey.

One must do in Kent is The Sportsman in Seasalter. Local produce and exceptional cooking in a simple pub with a great host/chef.

It is becoming the place of pilgrimage in Kent; if it had been open in Chaucer's day he may have forsook Thomas Becket's Tomb and continued on to the coast to enjoy Stephen Harris' degustation menu

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Annie and welcome to the forum. Speaking as a (former) hotel owner I can best answer your original question by saying that Michelin and the AA are streets apart in one -IMO- very important respect, and that is that there is very little that is anonymous about an AA inspection! This is something that wasn't touched on during the Michelin tv program mentioned in another thread. For instance we strived for a depressingly long time to get a third AA rosette and were eventually informed that 'they' didn't like the the carpet in the hotel's hall! What relevance this had to the food is anyone's guess. Suffice to say we changed the carpet and got the 3 rosettes.... we were also informed that the AA prefer owner-run hotels, something we couldn't fulfill as we had an extremely good manager and no desire to get rid of him. This lead to a lowering of the hotel's overall percentage rating. All a bit potty if you ask me, it's not like we were part of some soulless chain!

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Christina,

Thank you! Oh my, I had no idea they were gauged so diiferently.

If AA was a hotel inspector, I could see it.

But on food alone, well, that is odd.

Maybe they were trying to evaluate the whole experience, but that should be moreso on a 4 or 5 rosette level, I would think.

And even so, sublimne cooking is sublime cooking - even if the carpet is old, you aren't eating carpet:)

And the owner-run criteria is even stranger. Who cares, as long as the place IS well-run?

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